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WebMD tells me I'm heat sick

by Morgan Florsheim

That summer, God lived upstairs

from me, in a room with another

bearded dragon and two ferrets,


although we were not allowed

to have pets. You lived down the

street in a house with five wooden


salamanders affixed above the door.

Everywhere I went, seeds of sweat slid

off my skin to sow on barren


sidewalk. It was a summer in which

the need to cool down eclipsed

all other desires, the kind of summer


which makes one wish to sleep alone.

Each evening seemed to stretch on endlessly

as we draped ourselves over couches


and each other, all of the windows

open, waiting desperately

for the heat to break, for something


to change. You were always telling

me—with words that slithered easily

from your tongue, with gentle hands


that glissaded down the question mark

of my body—that you were sure

the world was bad and I


was good. I wasn’t sure of anything.

I wanted that certainty molasses

-thick in my veins, hoped it would pass


from your mouth to mine on some unholy

night under a bruised Providence sky.

It never did, not even when you whispered


you loved me and I nodded, sure

only that you would change your mind.

The moment spilled out slow—like


oil into water: colorful and glittering and

so very wrong. The figs scattered

across the earth of my brain


began to rot, that sweetest

stench of the promised-land heavy in my

nostrils until I knelt close enough to see


the insects making a home in their flesh.

At some much later hour, we

peeled ourselves from our chairs and


wandered to my room, together and alone,

where we cast aside covers and doubts

in favor of tomorrow, and dreamed


of snowflakes and frostbite and the slow march of glaciers.

Morgan Florsheim is a writer and urban planning graduate student currently living in Somerville, MA. Lately she has been thinking a lot about societal beauty standards, climate change, and whether or not her bruised toenail will fall off. You can find more of her literary writing in Bending Genres, Entropy, and The Baltimore Review, among others.

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